Nothing but a name
What did my father die for?
By Yasaman Rohani
June 28, 2001
Today once again I find myself in one of those moods where I look at
my life and wonder why it turned out the way it did. I begin to ask myself
over and over again what if things would have been done differently? What
if that wouldn't have happened? What if I wouldn't have done this? Where
would I be now? Would I be living in Iran or would I still be here? And
so on and so forth. I can sit outside all day by myself not talking, not
eating, not doing anything but asking myself these questions over and over
It is not because I lead a bad life. It is not because I don't have a
good family and true friends to help me out through tough times. It is not
because I am not pursuing a goal in life, which will lead me to something
that I will enjoy for the rest of my life. No, it has nothing to do with
that. The reason why I find myself in such trances sometimes is because
I lead a life which carries traces of an event in the past, which has marked
my life. And I might not be the only one.
I think that the war affected a lot of people even though some tend to
show it less than others. I myself belong to those who do not try to show
it. We were forced to leave our country and start a brand new life in an
unknown country. I have lived here a great part of my life and if I were
to start analyzing my life now in this country, which might by now feel
like home yet will never be my real home, then I would be in big trouble.
What would my life be like then? Not a good one for sure. It would be
filled with regret and anguish and that is definantly not how one wants
to live. But, for some reason I am starting to move towards that direction
more and more lately, always filled with bitter thoughts about my past and
how it affected my present life and how it will definitely affect my future
and that of those around me. What happened to make me turn out into such
a mind-freak who literally chops every thought and idea into fine pieces
and analyzes them?
The answer is quite simple. It is the war. It is my father. It is everything
he did and everything he still stands for today. Having lost my father at
a very young age to war is not necessarily the immediate reason for this.
Being a pilot, and a good one I might add, with lots of honours and respect,
it was in some way his duty to try and help his country. I understand the
reasoning behind his actions. And in our minds and those who know what he
did, he will always be a hero.
That is how I used to think. But lately I am starting to question everything.
What did his death really accomplish? Well, first off, it stripped me from
having a father. It made me live my life in a foreign country and, as a
result, loose some contact with my Iranian roots and origins, even though
that has not stopped me from being a dokhtare iroonie.
I recently went back to Iran and I think that is what triggered all these
thoughts and questions. Looking at Iran now, I ask myself: My father fought
and lost his life for this? He died, so that a bunch of mollas and other
religious figures could take over? I have no interest in politics and therefore
I will not pursue this specific aspect.
However, I remember when I was smaller I used to hear stories of people
who had fled with their families and moved to the West. At that time I used
to think of my father and say: "They should have stayed and fought
like a man." But now, being older and wiser, I understand that it has
nothing to do with "being a man". It had to do with the fact that
those people felt like there was no hope in trying to sacrifice their lives
for something that will never be. Instead they thought of trying to protect
Of course I am very proud of my father and what he did for his country.
But I find myself plagued by the fact that I will have to live my life with
no real memories of him. Nothing but pictures and his name. And even though
I might be able to adjust to that, it becomes really unbearable when I see
how certain people have abused the actions of my father and lots of other
heroes and used it to their own advantage.
My father and all the other people who lost their lives did not fight
so that we would have to leave our country. They did not leave everyone
and everything they loved behind so that the country could be corrupted
even more. No, that was not what they wanted and seeing how that is exactly
what turned out to be, I feel like someone has stabbed a knife through my
heart. I feel the pain for the loss of my father even more and it becomes
I do not want to get political here. I will end this on a good note and
say that my father and all those people lost their lives for a reason. A
reason that most people have forgotten nowadays and don't seem to want to
be bothered with. But the fact is that even though they might no longer
be on this planet, physically speaking, their actions and bravery still
linger above us. It will be part of our life and the lives of our children
because it represents a part of our history. I used to think that I could
go back to Iran and change everything; that I could make a difference. However
it does not seem very probable right now.
I will tell you all what I always end up telling myself when I find myself
in those moods where all this knowledge seems to become a big dark cloud:
My father along with all the other brave heroes who lost their life on the
battlefield died for a reason, for a cause. They never lived to see daylight
again, and that is perhaps why a lot of Iranians whether in Iran or in other
parts of the world have forgotten about this cause.
After reading this try to remember this cause again and refresh it in
your mind. Try to keep it alive and pass it on to those around you. That
way, even though we might not be united physically in our homeland, we will
mentally all be united and as a result fulfill the hopes and reasons why
people like my father juneshun ro baraaye vatan daadan va az beyn raftan.